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Athabasca University

Graduate Diploma in Management
Program Regulations

Program Requirements

The Graduate Diploma in Management (GDM) is Phase One of the MBA program. It is an 18 credit program consisting of an online orientation course, six core courses, and one comprehensive examination. It provides a solid grounding in general management fundamentals.

Program Structure  
Total Credits in the program 18 credits
Required Courses  
MBAO 599 MBA Orientation (0)
MBAO 598 MBA Orientation  
STMT 500 Strategic Management (3)
HRMT 502 Human Resources Management (3)
FMAC 503 Financial and Managerial Accounting (3)
MKMT 504 Marketing Management (3)
MEQA 501 Managerial Economics and Quantitative Analysis (3)
OPMT 505 Operations Management (3)
CPEX 506 Comprehensive Exam for Phase One (0)

Comprehensive Examination

A comprehensive examination must be written upon completion of the six core GDM courses. The comprehensive examination is scheduled on at least two occasions per year as determined by the Admissions Committee.

The comprehensive examination is graded on a pass/fail basis, and a grade of 70 per cent is required to pass.

Students who fail the comprehensive examination may repeat the examination only once. An appropriate fee will be charged for repetition of the examination and the student must wait until the next scheduled offering of the examination to re-write it. Students who fail the second writing of the comprehensive examination will be withdrawn from their program of study with no opportunity for re-enrolment.

Time Commitment

Most students spend about 20 to 25 hours per week on their studies while in the program.

Advanced Standing

"Advanced standing" means the student is exempt from some or all of the required assignments in a particular course.

At the time of admission, a graduate student may be awarded advanced standing in specific courses in light of the student's combined education and experience. Requests for advanced standing must be made to the Admissions Committee at the time of application to the program. Exemptions to these requirements must be approved by the MBA Program Director.

Students awarded advanced standing in a course:

  • are provided with full course materials,
  • remain responsible for full program tuition,
  • remain responsible to know and understand all components of the course and to demonstrate this knowledge in the comprehensive exam.

Active Status and Continuation

To maintain active status, students must successfully complete at least one course or comprehensive examination in their program of study within any given 12-month period.

Students who do not maintain active status will be deemed to have withdrawn from the program. Those students will be required to pay the tuition portion for courses completed and in which they are currently registered.

A program continuation fee may be charged for those who have exceeded 12 months and apply to continue in the program.

Time to Complete

Average GDM program completion time is 1.5 years, but students may have up to a maximum of 2.5 years to complete all requirements.

Program Deferrals

Students who have started the program can defer their studies should they find themselves experiencing changed circumstances in either their business or personal lives, but must request the deferral at least 21 days before the start date of their next course.

Withdrawal from the Program

Students may withdraw from the GDM program by completing the Program Withdrawal Form. Students who wish to withdraw from the GDM, without record of registration, must do so within 30 calendar days of the commencement of the program. A withdrawal occurring during this time will not be recorded on the student’s transcript. Students who withdraw from a program after the 30 calendar-day period from the start of program will have the withdrawal recorded on their transcript and must pay the tuition portion for courses completed and in which they are currently registered.

Re-Enrolment in the Program

Re-enrolment in a program can occur, but is subject to re-application, review and approval by the MBA Program Director, and payment of all applicable fees. Students will be required to pay any fee increases that occur between the time of their last enrolment and re-enrolment. They will be required to contact the Student Services department of the Faculty of Business to confirm their program requirements. Credit for courses previously completed will be re-evaluated and applied to the program requirements, where appropriate.

Non-Program Students

All non-program students must complete an online orientation prior to beginning their studies.

If a non-program student subsequently applies for MBA program admission, credit for Athabasca University MBA courses previously completed will be evaluated for credit towards the MBA program requirements, where appropriate.

Non-program students are governed by all other applicable graduate business program regulations and policies, and University appeal process.

Graduation Requirements

To be awarded the Graduate Diploma in Management (GDM), a graduate student must:

  • successfully complete the program course structure set out at the time of admission into the program,
  • successfully complete the comprehensive examination,
  • complete and submit an Application for Graduation Form, and
  • meet all other regulations.

In addition, students must have paid any fees owed to the University and have returned all library resources.

All applications for graduation must be approved by the Board of Governors of Athabasca University.


Information effective September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.

Updated April 13 2021 by laurab

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